Like so many revolutionary entrepreneurial endeavors, CONNECTAS began in a basement. It was there in Lippmann House that I sketched out a work plan. The nonprofit CONNECTAS, launched in 2013, is now the main collaborative journalism platform in Latin America. This growth has been possible thanks to the trust and support of the International Center for Journalists.
My goal was to build a powerful network of “journalistic camaraderie.” Now it involves more than a hundred journalists in 15 countries in the region. With this community, CONNECTAS has produced more than 250 stories that have brought to light hidden issues in Latin America.
Part of our mission is to identify and highlight cross-border problems, such as a million-dollar shipment to Mexico of illegal Peruvian timber. CONNECTAS also has supported investigations such as Aristegui Noticias’ “La Casa Blanca de Peña Nieto” (“Peña Nieto’s White House”), a story that proved to be a turning point in Mexicans’ perceptions about some of their president’s conflicts of interest. Identifying abuses of power is another major goal, one that we accomplished with an investigation of human rights abuses in Venezuela, a story that was picked up by The Washington Post. We also focus on telling stories in different formats, such as using 360-degree cameras to show the impact of the deforestation in Colombia’s Guaviare jungle. That story was published in coordination with El Tiempo in Colombia.
The participation of CONNECTAS in global investigations such as the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, further underscores that the era of the “lone wolf” in journalism is over. The engine that started in the basement of Lippmann House has set in motion a transformative dynamic to foster better journalism in the Americas.